August 23, 2018

G129: Red Sox 7, Cleveland 0

Cleveland - 000 000 000 - 0  5  0
Red Sox   - 000 061 00x - 7 12  0
The Red Sox have won 90 games before any other major league team has reached 80 wins. The top team in the National League has a mere 72 wins.

David Price's (8-3-0-0-7, 101) move to the first-base side of the pitching rubber continued to pay dividends. Price made the adjustment after being shelled by the Yankees on July 1. In his eight starts since then, he has an ERA of 2.05 and the Red Sox have won all eight games. (In 15 starts before the move, Price's ERA was 5.01.)

Early in the game, plate umpire Gerry Davis showed a propensity to calls balls outside of the zone "strikes". And Price exploited that. Davis stopped making those incorrect calls after the second inning, but he started up again in the eighth and ninth. (See below.)

Price retired the first eight batters and 18 of the first 19. He allowed a two-out single to Greg Allen in the third and two singles in the seventh. Xander Bogaerts made an unassisted double play to end that tiny jam.

The Red Sox could not solve Adam Plutko for the first four innings. They had two hits and Plutko had walked three, but they had yet to get a man past second base. Sandy Leon fouled off five straight pitches before rapping a ground-rule double down the right-field line to lead off the fifth. Jackie Bradley lined an 0-2 pitch to center for a hit. Mookie Betts popped to left. At this point, an odd pattern began. For the next six batters, the Red Sox alternated between walks and two-run doubles. To wit:
Andrew Benintendi walked, bases loaded.

Blake Swiahrt doubled to right-center, 2 runs scored, runners now at second and third.

J.D. Martinez walked intentionally, bases loaded. (pitching change)

Xander Bogaerts doubled over the third baseman and down the left field line, 2 runs scored, runners now at second and third.

Brock Holt walked intentionally, bases loaded.

Eduardo Nunez doubled into the right-field corner, 2 runs scored, runners now at second and third. (pitching change)
Reliever Oliver Perez quickly got two outs. The Red Sox had four singles in the sixth, with Martinez driving in Betts for the Red Sox's final run.

Mitch Moreland bruised his left knee in the top of the first when slid into the ledge of the first base photographer's pit on the first base side of the field. He batted in the bottom half and reached base on a single when left fielder Melky Cabrera lost his popup in the sun, but Swihart replaced him in the infield for the top of the second.

Bogaerts is now 6-for-10 with the bases loaded this year, with one single, two doubles, three home runs, and 22 RBI. ... Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez is 4-for-56 (.071) in day games this season. Last year, however, he hit better during the day than at night.

All of Gerry Davis's blown calls that I noted on my scorecard went against Cleveland and in favour of the Red Sox.

Edwin Encarnacion, top of 2nd (#1 and #4 both outside, both called strikes):

Melky Cabrera, top of 2nd (#4 outside, called a strike):

Greg Allen, top of 6th (#5 called correctly):

Brandon Guyer, top of 8th (#1 outside, called a strike):

Francisco Lindor, top of 9th (#4 outside, called a strike):

Sandy Leon, bottom of 2nd (#8 in the zone, called a ball):

Adam Plutko / David Price
Betts, RF
Benintendi, LF
Moreland, 1B
Martinez, DH
Bogaerts, SS
Holt, 2B
Nunez, 3B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
The 2019 season will begin on March 20, when the Mariners and Athletics play in Tokyo. Opening Day for the other 28 teams will be March 28, one day earlier than this season started.

The Red Sox will begin the season in Seattle, part of a west coast trip that will include stops in Oakland and Arizona. The first game at Fenway Park will be on April 9 against the Blue Jays. The Red Sox and Yankees are scheduled for two games in London on July 29 and 30, the first major league games ever played in Europe.

The Red Sox's schedule includes two Friday off-days. One of those is an extra day for travel to London - though the team does not receive the same courtesy coming back - but the blank spot on September 13 is bizarre. (It's not only the Red Sox; many teams will have a Friday off in 2019.)

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